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HSE Accused Of Complacency Over National Homes Fire Risk Of Substandard Electrical Cables

You would like to think that given that major fires, not least the Grenfell Tower fire, were caused by faulty white goods and faulty electrical cables that when the HSE were told some seven years ago that Atlas Kablo, a now-defunct Turkish company, had sold 11 million metres of cable that posed a potential fire risk wherever in the UK it had been used; that immediate action to recall 100% of the product and replace it with safe electrical cabling.

But no!

The HSE decided that recalling only seven million metres, was sufficient alongside a 'voluntary' approach to the discovery and removal of the remaining four million metres/40,000 reels of cable!

Despite the HSE having total authority under the  Electrical Equipment Safety Regulations (1994) to order a full statutory recall of the cable, forcing retailers to act, it clearly saw the task to be too great and left it up to local builders and electricians to act if they felt it 'cost effective' to do so!

Up to 80,000 homes could now be at risk of fire as the cable which has too little copper within it and hence poses a major fire risk due to it overheating, especially behind such structures as plaster fibre board used in most homes. It will simply ignite.

The independent, accredited certification body, British Approvals Service for Cables (Basec), had discovered the risk, advising the HSE of the problem, but did agree that it will be tricky to find the remaining faulty cable because most electricians don't keep a record of where cable has gone, given there is no legal requirement for them to do so.

Pic: logo of BASECFollowing the letter from the HSE to all wholesalers about the faulty electrical cable and its 'voluntary approach' to any recall, in 2013 Homebase were found to be stocking it in their stores. It is unclear how much of the cable the shops had sold.

Home Retail Group's team of experts had de3cided to continue to sell the because they claimed it was 'low-risk, due to the specified usage of the cable for low-voltage items, whilst at the same time issueing the bog-standard claim that "The safety of our customers is our number one priority." Clearly marking a product as 'low risk' in order to continues to sell it, is not exaclty putting safety as a number 1 priority!

Ordering the recall of unsold stock of the substandard cable by default would have been easy for the HSE to do. The cable was sheathed in grey plastic and marked with the manufacturer's name.

But as usual, it is being left to the public to act themselves and bare the cost of doing so, with Basec advising people that they should commission an electrician to test electrical systems if they are worried that their home may contain this cable.

It is quite clear on the back of the Grenfell Tower wholly avoidable disaster that regulations are not being adhered to, are inadequate and not policed.

Inappropriate action by the HSE makes matters worse and now has placed a ticking time-bomb in the walls of potentially tens of thousands of homes in the UK; and with the risk of another residential tower block fire similar to that of Grenfell being caused by the installation of this substandard overheating electrical cable!

Source: BBC / Twitter



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